The American public, like citizens elsewhere, care about current and future levels of crime and the factors that drive them. Policymakers, who can greatly influence such factors, often lack knowledge from careful studies on the causes and control of crime to guide their decisions. HFG commissioned three leading criminologists to address this deficit by developing a predictive model of national violent and property crime rates. Applying the model, they find that crime is projected to decrease in the U.S. over the next five years.
Florida has benefited from the national drop in crime that began in the early 1990s. Its growth in incarceration also paralleled the steady national imprisonment rise of the last forty-five years. Policy makers would benefit from defensible projections of future trends in crime, and especially from estimates of the effect that further reductions in the number of people in jail and prison might have on those trends. The authors of this study developed quantitative models of the effects of various demographic and economic factors, as well as the imprisonment rate, on Florida’s past crime rates. They then used these models to project crime trends into the 2020s.
Illinois is one of several states where prison populations are declining. As state policymakers, prosecutors, and courts consider alternatives to incarceration, what is the risk to public safety? The authors of this study conclude that Illinois crime rates, which have been on the decline since the 1990s, will continue to decline in a fluctuating pattern, with moderate year-to-year changes. This will be true even if Illinois reduces its prison population by an additional 25%.